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Observing the Reformation

“I, John, saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to

preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people...” Revelation 14:6


As I shared at our Reformation commemoration, God’s people are privileged to live out their faith as they worship in his word! What follows is a bit of a summary of my sermon for that day. As I shared in my message, we worship in his word in three ways:


#1 - In the service.

This worship in God’s word happens in the service of his word. The service of worship has long been called Divine Service or, God’s service for a reason. There the Lord firstly serves his people. All that we say and all that we do speaks, sings, and serves God in response to his grace! We worship in his word in the service in this way and:


#2 - In the singing.

In the church, singing was anciently called chanting, from Latin. At St. John we chant the Introit or Gradual psalms and have made use of Gregorian chant, to some extent, on Wednesday evenings and at a recent weekend service. Music in the service of God has always been used with the intention of aiding in reverent and beautiful worship for our Lord and his people. The Church of the Reformation has been called the singing church! For hymns in the language of the people were brought forth and we still make use of these historic hymns today! So it is that we worship in his word in the service, in the singing and even:


#3 - In the ceremony.

Worship in the word is acted upon! Just as all things in scripture are written for our instruction, the Lutheran Confessions remind that even the ceremonies among us have meaning. These are intended to instruct us in God’s word. As the entire service is constructed around scripture, so also the rites or ceremonies of the service are intended to express this scriptural meaning. In our churches these customs may be altered or developed depending on circumstances. But in Christian freedom we use them to indicate salvation in our Lord alone, and to express reverence toward God and his word!


This reading from Revelation has historically been associated with Reformation day. There we are reminded that as God’s people we worship in his word with the everlasting gospel to be preached among us! For in the service, in the singing and in the ceremony, God’s people are privileged to live out their faith as they worship in his word!


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